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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Proxy wars: Prop. 300 is immigration frustration run amok

    Look at Arizona and Maryland these days, and you’ll find a study in contrasts.

    Fresh off the November election, the Arizona Board of Regents is still trying to cope with the ramifications of Proposition 300, which bars undocumented immigrants from being eligible for in-state tuition.

    Meanwhile, Maryland’s new governor pledged support Friday for a bill that would allow certain illegal immigrants to be eligible for in-state tuition.

    Sure, Maryland might not sit on the border of Mexico like Arizona, but the fact of the matter is that stripping illegal immigrants of in-state tuition does nothing to resolve real immigration problems.

    The litany of complaints associated with illegal immigration is wide-ranging, but most seem to center on two basic points: The borders need to be closed to keep future “”illegals”” out, and the ones that are already here refuse to assimilate and to learn English.

    Whatever the merits of these two complaints, it’s clear that Proposition 300 does nothing to address either of them.

    For all the political points it might have scored, revoking illegal immigrants’ in-state tuition status does nothing to stymie the hoards of immigrants pouring across Arizona’s borders. One would be hard-pressed to find a family that passed up the promise of economic prosperity and political freedom in America because they couldn’t get a better deal at Arizona universities.

    Likewise, the notion of making it harder for illegal immigrants to attend institutions that teach American values, American economic principles (and, presumably, American English) doesn’t seem to help immigrants assimilate into the English-speaking, free market-loving culture that we so value.

    There is a solution. Proposition 300 started off in the Arizona state Legislature as a compromise in which undocumented immigrants that have been residents for at least six years would qualify for in-state tuition.

    Republican legislators in search of election year sound bites stripped the provision, and voters went along with the steadily escalating “”immigrants are invading”” drumbeat of xenophobes like state Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa.

    To regain some measure of sanity, then, voters and legislators should return to the original compromise (Maryland’s governor, incidentally, wants to allow undocumented immigrants to claim in-state status if they’ve been in the state for two years).

    Immigration alarmists will surely claim that the state shouldn’t be subsidizing illegal immigrants, but six years of living in Arizona is six years’ worth of paying Arizona taxes. A U.S. citizen, by contrast, need only reside in Arizona for one year before he or she can claim in-state status.

    The immigration debate is a complicated one, but waging proxy wars against illegal immigrants by denying them randomly selected services is neither helpful nor just. UA students know well the hardships caused by tuition hikes. Any immigration “”solution”” should not require us to impose additional burdens on illegal immigrants.

    Opinions Board
    Opinions are determined by the Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Justyn Dillingham, Allison Hornick, Damion LeeNatali, Stan Molever, Nicole Santa Cruz and Matt Stone.

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